flavor of love

My cousin James thinks I should try out for this reality show

garden state

Finally saw this movie and loved it. I'd listened to the soundtrack (who under 45 in America hasn't? My frind QMM posits that it's so popular 'cause GenX women feel like it's the ultimate 'my-boyfriend-made-me-a-cool-mix-CD' CD. I think he's right.) Anyway, the movie was really haunting and depressing and hilarious. Pitch perfect.

free at last...

And another note on the end of my relationship:

It was troubled, from the beginning. There were complicating factors and red, screaming flashing warning lights that I ignored. So although we had a good deal of fun together, this guy and I, it was problematic and fraught with tension from day one to the last day.

And tonight, for the first time since we broke up, I am realizing how very glad I am to be free of that tension. I've been tense and upset far more than I should have been for the past few months. I tend to be a fairly jolly person and I've been way too tense and worried.

Tonight I babysat my niece and nephew for a few hours (my own children are with their father for a few more days - their holiday visit) and actually enjoyed it because my mind wasn't elsewhere. And now I am home in my own cozy bed, with my cat and one of the dogs, listening to this really great new CD from the Westside Daredevils (which you should rush out and buy immediately, by the way. Pop perfection. Nice guys, too).

It's nice to be in my own space, in my own house, alone, relaxed, with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate, and just a noticeable lack of stress.

Don't get me wrong; I wish it had worked out. I really do. I really dig this guy. But since it isn't going to work out, there's just a feeling of relief that comes with letting go of the whole thing and enjoying the best parts of doing my own thing, you know?

Tomorrow night I am going out with friends for New Year's Eve to see Todd Steed, Mic Harrison and Scott Miller play at two different venues. I plan to try to drag my sister out as well. And then a favorite pal is having a big shindig on New Year's Day, to which he claims 70 or more people are coming, so that should be fun. And then on Monday my children come home after one whole week away. So it should be a lovely weekend.

Life is good. Hope yours is too.



The relationship I had that recently ended was very wordy. One of the things I loved about the guy was his way with words. I loved his accent, very different from mine. I liked the way he phrased things, saying "I reckon" and occasionally lapsing into rather charming double negatives.

Mostly, though, I loved the way he wrote. He's a wonderful writer, although he isn't sure of that himself. But he is.

I first fell for him through his writing. Even though we live in the same town and saw each other pretty much daily for several months, we also exchanged reams and reams of e-mail. In writing, he's funny, insightful, evocative and provocative. They were terrific letters and notes.

These e-mails provided a rather lovely epistolary record of our courtship, but today I deleted all of them and sent them into the permanent cyberspace trashbin. They are just too painful to have around, given how things have ended.

It would have been tempting to go back and re-read them and end up feeling sad again and I'd rather remember the whole thing with a lot of affection and good will, because, despite where things stand, I have no regrets.

I hope he doesn't either.

my new year's resolutions

-Be more organized

-Grocery shop more efficiently and prepare more meals at home

-Grow better garden this year

-Stop running into things in my car (or anyone else's car)

-Play more board games

-Spend more time with a couple of folks I've neglected lately

-Avoid painful entanglements with tortured musicians (I remain open to the possibility of pleasant entanglements with non-tortured musicians ;-) )

- Complete several writing projects I've had on back burner, including something about the Clinton High School bombing, which is the great untold story of the civil rights movement

-Uncover, discover, discard

What are your resolutions?

i hope to be remembered so colorfully...

Another great obituary from the London News Telegraph (sent to me by my mama. Thanks Mom):

Sandy Fawkes
(Filed: 30/12/2005)

Sandy Fawkes, who died on December 26 aged 75, was found as a baby in the Grand Union Canal and later narrowly escaped death at the hands of a serial killer; she seemed a fixture in the public houses of Soho, but found time to follow careers as a journalist and author.

For her last 30 years Sandy Fawkes was a familiar sight in the Coach and Horses and in the French pub in Soho, consuming simply astonishing amounts of whisky. When she was among generous company, the barman would change her glass for a more capacious one as the gills mounted up. She wore clothes that had been in the height of fashion in the 1970s, for, since she ate little, she had kept her figure. She habitually wore a fur hat that made it look as if a cat was curled up on her head.

The force of character that had once brought her success in journalism she now used in getting a stool at the bar, no mean feat in Soho pubs in the 1980s more crowded than any cocktail party. Each night a tragicomedy was played out among the regulars at these smoky bars. The conversation was often hair-raisingly rude, and the clash of characters generated extremely funny incidents, but death lay not far below the surface.

In an Arena documentary for BBC2 (1986), Jeffrey Bernard, The Spectator's Low Life columnist, was filmed conversing in the morning with the angular landlord of the Coach and Horses, Norman Balon. "Anything much happen last night?" Balon asked him. "Nothing special," Bernard replied, "Sandy Fawkes was pissed."

The surprising thing was not so much that Sandy Fawkes often appeared drunk, but that she survived so long, even retaining a series of boyfriends. She never showed resentment, during the many hours she sat at the same bar as Jeffrey Bernard, at his frequent disparaging references to her in his Spectator column. She had even more awkward customers to deal with each day. "She reminds me of my mother," one regular, a former guardsman, Bill Moore, remarked one night, "I hate her." He kicked out towards her, but missed.

Before 1988, Soho pubs closed at 3pm, and committed drinkers adjourned to afternoon drinking clubs. Off the Charing Cross Road, where Sandy Fawkes had a flat, there was a leprous cellar, with damp forcing its way through the plaster, called the Kismet Club. Its nicknames included "The Iron Lung" and "Death in the Afternoon". One passing visitor asked what the strange smell was there. "Failure," came the reply.

One afternoon in the 1980s, after a lunchtime during which Graham Mason, the drunkest man in the Coach and Horses, had abused her at length for being "an ugly, horribly drunk old woman", Sandy Fawkes found herself in the Kismet, familiar territory. Within minutes she was in violent argument with a podgy man wearing teeshirt and a gold chain. "I never did like you, you fat queen," she began, at loud volume, "just because you've got money." It was a mere point of punctuation in a long Soho day. No wonder that any time after half past five, when the pubs reopened, it generally felt like 10.30 at night.

One close friend for 30 years was Daniel Farson, the television journalist, chronicler of Soho and spectacular drunk. He would suddenly turn from an intelligent conversationalist into a growling monster. "I loathe you," he would shout suddenly between fat, quivering cheeks. Sandy Fawkes would go to stay with him in Devon, where he enjoyed comparative calm, though barred from local pubs. Then for some years they would go without speaking. She was hurt when shortly before his death, on the morning of the Princess of Wales's funeral, while she sat in the French pub, he stood in the Coach and Horses imitating her tears at the occasion.

Sandy Fawkes did go through periods of abstinence, in 1987 doing without drink for more than three months. She had once written a book called Health for Hooligans (with illustrations by William Rushton), and knew what drink did to people. Oddly enough she did not begin smoking till into her forties, making up for it then with constantly lit Gitanes, each with its lipstick-mark, elegantly held between nail-varnished fingers. When she kept a cigarette in her mouth, the smoke would drift between the hairs of her fur hat, dyeing them a deeper bronze.

Her life was physically and emotionally exhausting, for all her courage and tenaciousness. One night in the Coach and Horses, 20 years before she died, she found that all her teeth ached, that whisky was not stopping it, that the memories of her child who had died in infancy and her own childhood were preying on her mind. She was very drunk and after a while the only words she uttered were: "I'm scared."

Sandy Fawkes was born on June 30 1929. She never knew her parents, but before her marriage settled on the name Sandra Boyce-Carmichelle. After her rescue from the canal she was sent to a series of foster parents. Some abused her. She was not able to write about this until the case of Maria Colwell, who died aged seven in 1973, encouraged newspapers to publish accounts of similar mistreatment of children.

A bright, artistic child, she won a place at Camberwell School of Art. There she was encouraged by John Minton, a gifted teacher who was to kill himself at 40. It was he who introduced her to Soho, where she tasted her first alcoholic drink - gin and orange cordial - in the York Minster, Dean Street, known as the French Pub. "Perhaps I should have signed the pledge that day," she remarked years later, "but I would have missed out on so much fun and so many friendships. Disasters too."

On the same day, she remembered, "I caught my one and only glimpse of Dylan Thomas sitting slumped on the bench that used to run under the windows."

When her children grew up, Sandy Fawkes missed making a home, though she delighted in grandchildren. In the end, the French Pub, even after the retirement of its stylish and cheque-cashing landlord Gaston Berlemont, was to be a second home to her. She wrote a short history of the pub, The French (1993), and in her last years its kindly bar staff would fetch prescriptions for her, and her morning copy of The Daily Telegraph.

Through John Minton, a trad jazz fan, she had met in the late 1940s Wally Fawkes, a clarinettist. In 1949 he began his celebrated cartoon strip Flook in the Daily Mail; that year too Sandy and he married. Their house in Hampstead became known for its lively parties. They had four children, three girls and a boy; the early death of a daughter caused her lasting sorrow.

From the 1960s Sandy Fawkes returned to her drawing-board, making fashion drawings for Vanity Fair and then the Daily Sketch, for which she became fashion editor, a job she briefly retained when it merged with the Daily Mail in 1971. She became a feature writer for the Daily Express and was proud of covering the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

In the United States in November 1974, after an unsuccessful trial period with the National Enquirer, she met a man in his late twenties in a bar in Atlanta, Georgia. He looked like "a cross between Robert Redford and Ryan O'Neal", she thought. They began an affair, and she joined him on a leisurely drive down the coast to Florida. She knew him as Daryl Golden. In reality he was Paul Knowles, who killed at least 18 people. The day before Sandy Fawkes met him, Knowles had killed two people, one of them a 15-year-old girl he had raped.

The car they drove in had been stolen from a man missing for four months. Even the smart clothes Knowles wore were those of a murdered man. "He told me he was going to be killed soon, but had made some tapes which would make a world news story," she recalled. "After a week, I just had a feeling I wanted to get away from him."

Knowles had set off on his trail of killings only that May. It ended with his arrest within days of their parting. A month later he was shot dead by police.

She wondered ever after what it was that had prevented Knowles from murdering her too. Her escape from his company did not end her troubles, for the police took a dim view of her sexual liaison with a murderer. Could it be that she was guilty of some of the murders too, they asked? "Police in Macon, Georgia, make Rod Steiger look like a fairy," she said.

She found it took a year to recover from the incident. But it struck deep at her insecurity. In 1974 she published her account of the incident as Killing Time. It was always going to be turned into a film, bringing her lots of money. But it never was. The book, however, was republished in 2004 as Natural Born Killer: In Love and on the Road With a Serial Killer.

Her other books included Nothing But, a ghosted memoir of Christine Keeler. "Christine was quite an odd woman," she was to recall. "About two years after I wrote the book, she rang me and told me I'd ruined her life." In 1990 she wrote Elena: a Life in Soho, the biography of the celebrated maitre d' of L'Escargot (now at l'Etoile).

In 1998 Sandy Fawkes had a small part in John Maybury's film about Francis Bacon, Love is the Devil. She figures on the credits as "Person in the Colony Room Club". She had indeed known Bacon and drunk with him in the Colony Room Club, but she had not frequented it for some years, after a row with someone. The club was recreated on the film set, and when Derek Jacobi, as Bacon, walked on set, Sandy, with essential supplies of whisky to hand, burst into tears.

Sandy Fawkes was depicted in several episodes of the brilliant strip The Regulars, drawn by Michael Heath in Private Eye. She also figures in an atmospheric full-page colour drawing by Heath for Punch (March 13, 1984), showing Bill Mitchell playing spoof, surrounded by regulars and crooks. Sandy Fawkes in the foreground is anchored on a stool, quietly pouring whisky down her throat.


Today it became clear to me in a whole new way that someone I care about deeply, someone in whom I had placed my trust, has chosen drugs over our friendship. This person wouldn't see it that way, but I do.

This person has chosen a life that doesn't include me because that life allows for drug use with minimal hassle, while being with me means questions will be asked and challenges will be raised. Other people, the people he DOES allow around, don't ask hard questions or challenge this person to be all that he can be.

It breaks my heart. I see his potential as a truly sober person. The glimpse I got of that sober person revealed a brilliant, funny, sweet, musical, intuitive individual.

It's a loss in so many ways.

Addiction sucks.

my picks for new year's eve

You can read my round-up of the best bets for New Year's Eve, if you feel so inclined.

dr. ferber backtracks

Amy Harmon has a wonderful piece in the New York Times today about how those of us who co-sleep with our babies feel vindicated by Dr. Ferber's dramatic turnaround on his position on "family bedding."

Dr. Ferber and his publisher may be downplaying what a big deal it is that he now says his "sleep training" method "isn't right for every baby," but it is a very big deal. It's just really sad that so many babies and parents suffered through the baby screaming alone in a crib until he/she finally dropped off to sleep because they believed Dr. Ferber's ons-size-fits-all babycare advice in previous editions of his book.

I interviewed Dr. Ferber once for a piece in Salon, and he told me in no uncertain terms that family co-sleeping is a bad idea. Period. The end. So this change in his views marks a major change.

In a contest to decide which guy is worse, would you pick this one? Or would you go for this fine specimen of manhood?
Tara Reid should sue her plastic surgeon.
If you love top ten lists like I love top ten lists, this top ten list is for

chris klein is a blithering idiot

I thought Chris Klein was really funny as the dumb jock in one of my all-time favorite movies, "Election."

Turns out, he was good in the role because he wasn't acting.

Check out his comments today to the AP on his long relationship with TomCruiseFemBot, Katie Holmes:

"Her and my relationship is a time in the past. And it's a time that I'll always look back with in fondness, but her and I have moved on, and she has a separate life and I have a separate life. And it's better that we keep it that way."

What does "I'll look back with in fondness" even mean, for God's sake? And can "her" really "move on," as in "her moved on" ????

Plus, if "her" has a separate life, then isn't it pretty redundant to note that he, too has a separate life?


my picks for best records of 2005

duct tape

My friend Quentin is a GENIUS. He suggested I fix my car mirror with duct tape and it totally worked. This has cheered me up.

Now I am going to listen to the new Todd Steed CD, 'Heartbreak and Duct Tape'


Increased Cesarean Rate for Low-risk Women Contradicts National Goals and Guidelines to Improve Maternal and Infant Health

The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) is concerned by the continuing escalation of cesareans and by new findings: the increasing cesarean rate in the number of low-risk women who give birth for the first time and in the number of low-risk women who are having repeat operations.

Ponte Vedra Beach, FL (PRWEB) December 27, 2005 -- In 2003 the U.S., cesarean rate reached an all-time high of 27.1%, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Physicians performed 1.2 million cesarean sections at a cost of $14.6 billion in hospital charges. This cost did not include the physician fees. In 2004 the cesarean rate climbed even higher, to 29.1%.

The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) is concerned by the continuing escalation of cesareans and by new findings: the increasing cesarean rate in the number of low-risk women who give birth for the first time and in the number of low-risk women who are having repeat operations. A low-risk woman is defined as one with a full-term (37 completed weeks of gestation), singleton pregnancy with a vertex presentation (head facing down) and no medical complications at the start of labor.

“Increasing cesarean rates contradict and affect two key national health objectives of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,” states CIMS's Chair, Nicette Jukelevics. “Those objectives are to reduce the number of low-risk women who give birth by cesarean and to increase the number of mothers who breastfeed their babies.” In 2003 one in four low-risk women gave birth to their first child by cesarean section, an increase of 30% since 1996. That year the repeat cesarean rate for low-risk women (women eligible to labor for a VBAC) was an alarming 88.7%, an increase of more than 25% since 1996. Healthy People 2010 objective is to reduce first cesareans for low-risk women to 15% and to reduce repeat cesareans to 63%.

Compared to vaginal birth, cesarean delivery compromises womens' health. Complications from cesareans put women at increased risks for infection, hemorrhage, blood clots, bowel obstruction, adhesions and placental problems which can complicate future pregnancy and birth. Women who give birth by cesarean are at higher risk in a subsequent pregnancy. Reduced fertility, preterm birth, low birth weight, and uterine rupture are more likely in a subsequent pregnancy after women give birth by cesarean.

The CDC (Guide to Breastfeeding Interventions) documents the protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding as a critical public health need. The CDC identified labor analgesics, epidural anesthesia, and cesarean section as maternity practices that have negative effects on breastfeeding. These practices affect the infant's behavior at the time of birth, which in turn affect the infant's ability to suckle in an organized and effective manner at the breast. A cesarean born baby is less likely to be breastfed and to benefit from the positive health outcomes associated with breastfeeding.

The Healthy People 2010 objective is for 75% of mothers to initiate breastfeeding, for 50% to continue exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months, and for 25% to continue breastfeeding until at least 12 months. The increasing cesarean rate puts this objective in jeopardy. The American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement, "Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk," documents irrefutable advantages for infants, mothers, families, and society from breastfeeding. Advantages include health, nutritional, immunologic, developmental, psychological, social, economic and environmental benefits.

Although the rise in cesareans for low-risk women was seen in women of all ages, and racial or ethnic groups, surprisingly the number of healthy teen mothers who gave birth by cesarean increased by 35% since 1996, greater than all other age groups. In 2003 almost 17% of childbearing women under 20 years of age had a first birth by cesarean.

Given the nationwide lack of maternity care services supporting VBACs in the US, CIMS anticipates that the overwhelming majority of these young women will have repeat operations in a subsequent pregnancy exposing them to continuing health risks and complications they otherwise would not experience with a vaginal birth.

In its ongoing efforts to improve birth outcomes CIMS is sponsoring the Fourth Annual Evidence-based Forum at the Radisson Hotel, Boston, February 23-25, 2006. The three-day event, Mother-Friendly Childbirth: Closing the Gap Between Research and Practice features Dr. Christiane Northrup well known obstetrician and author, and Michelle Lauria, MD of the Northern New England Perinatal Quality Improvement Project, a consortium of maternity care providers, hospitals, and insurers in the states of Vermont and New Hampshire which encourages and supports VBAC.

The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS), a United Nations recognized NGO, is a collaborative effort of numerous individuals, leading researchers, and more than 50 organizations representing over 90,000 members. Promoting a wellness model of maternity care that will improve birth outcomes and substantially reduce costs. CIMS developed the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative in 1996. A consensus document recognized as an important model for improving the healthcare and well being of children beginning at birth, the MFCI has been translated into several languages and is gaining recognition around the world. To learn more about the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative, go to

Rae Davies, Executive Director
Phone: 1-888-282-CIMS
Fax: 904-285-2120


These are some of my favorite photos of the year 2005 of my daughter Jane doing the horsey thang:


Jane shows

Jane - I love this photo of this huge jumper, Jane on the small pony and then right at the very bottom, her dog Cookie


Jane at Tryon Hunt Club Show - July '05

Jane at River Glen


Jane and Cinco

best knoxville shows of the year

My list of the best shows I saw in Knoxville/by Knox bands this year right here.

This is a starter list. Feel free to add your own votes.

word. good advice...

...from this week's best of Craigslist.

On the other hand, impulsive fun can too sometimes.



After a week at home with me, my children are now with their father for a week and the silence in our little house is really thundering. I miss the **hell** out of them.

They had an obscenely blessed Christmas, receiving iPods and saddles and laptops and electric guitars and remote control flying saucers and just about anything else a kid could want. With Christmas in two households, plus very generous grandparents, they really get a lot for the holidays and I know they are enjoying all of it.

I find myself very, very solitary and contemplative as the New Year approaches. I'm hibernating at home a bit. My recent breakup with the first person I actually fell in love with since my divorce has really been painful but has also made me take a hard look at some important issues that require my careful attention. Not fun stuff to be honest with myself about, but necessary.

I am hoping all of this painful quiet in my life at the moment, which came on rather suddenly after a joyous spring, summer and early fall is meant to allow me space to think through this hard stuff and emerge a better mother and person as the leaves start to bud on the trees again.

I hope so.

my fave christmas present this year...

...was the copy of "All the President's Men" signed by Bob Woodward that my mother gave me. Very cool gift.

What was your best present? Given or received?


quote o' the day

To be religious is not to feel, but to be. -Reinhold Niebuhr

merry christmas eve

For those of you who celebrate, I hope you've had as nice a Christmas Eve as we have.

It's 10:15 pm now and all three of my children are in bed - the same bed. Just as my siblings and I did until we were teenagers, they like to pile into the same bed on Christmas Eve.

I started Christmas Eve day in a rather foul humour that I just couldn't seem to shake. I've had a run of beyond rotten luck lately and last night I minorly wrecked my car and I was in a very bad mood about this. I am a terrible driver and I ran into a large bush in someone's driveway and dinged up my car a bit, including knocking the mirror off. I tried not to let this bother me, but it did.

And during the first half of the day, the children were not, shall we say, at their best. They were obnoxious and I was cranky and with every passing hour I felt more grinchy and less Christmas-ey.

Plus, my oldest didn't feel well and at one point there was some discussion of canceling our traditional Christmas Eve plans altogether.

They did check the Norad Santa Tracker every few hours, which was really cute.

Finally, at 4 pm we met my sister and brother in law and the cousins at church for the early service. The kids were still cranky and I still felt dour, but by the end, we all seemed to be getting in the mood. I love the part at the end of the Christmas Eve service where they dim the lights and we sing "Silent Night."

Then we all headed over to my sister's for dinner, which was amazingly yummy and we all began to cheer right up. My brother in law had made this literal feast of Italian food. Truly fabulous and the cousins were having lots of fun together.

After supper, we all sat down for what turned out to be nearly two hours of opening gifts together. We always let the cousins open their gifts from one another on Christmas Eve, which they love. But we also open a big box of silly, small gifts each Christmas Eve, each with a funny note personalized for each child. These come each year from the mysterious and never actually seen "Uncle Louie," who has been an Allison Christmas tradition since my father was a little boy. We read each note out loud and watch the child open the little gift, so this takes a looong time, but the kids never got bored and laughed and enjoyed all the gifts each of them got.

I also opened my sister's gifts to me tonight and she gave me the new Garrison Keillor novel, which looks hilarious and a book on the history of Zen, so I will have stuff to read this week...

This was just great fun and by the end of this, everyone felt jolly and in the spirit, including me. Then we baked cookies for Santa, left half for the cousins and took half home with us when we left for home about 9:00. We got home, got into PJs, set out cookies and milk and reindeer food and then they all got in bed and I read "The Night Before Christmas" to them and now, I hope they are all just about asleep because I think Santa might have work to do...


way to go massachussetts!

MA is banning the nearly universal American practice of giving out infant formula-funded "gift bags" to new moms as they leave the hospital. This is a HUGE win for mothers and babies. Very exciting.

some holiday cheer

I am really thrilled with yesterday's "NO" vote on opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.

Todd Steed Christmas Concert

Come on downtown for this show today. I'll be there, along with my sons.

new jersey needs a new slogan

Apparently, NJ paid a consultant a quarter million dollars to come up with a new state slogan, but nobody liked his idea ("New Jersey: We'll Win You Over")so now they're having a contest to come up with a new state slogan.

A few years ago Knoxville needed a new slogan and tha lame-o thing the powers that be came up with was "Knoxville: Where Nature and Technology Meet"


Locals quickly changed it to "Knoxville: Where Nature and Technology Stop for Gas on the Way to Florida"


carrot very afraid

Who knew that Joe Piscopo and Carrot Top are ACTUALLY THE SAME GUY!!!??

Elliot's story

E's teacher just sent me this story he wrote:


By Elliot

Once upon a time there was a girl named Cinderella. Her mother had died, and her father had decided to get remarried. But Cinderella disagreed. But he did.

Now Cinderella had two stepbrothers and two stepsisters and one stepmom. The stepmom was always very mean, and her dad died from poisoning. Now Cinderella had horrible jobs like mop the floor and clean the toilets.

Then one day Cinderella’s brothers and sisters got a note that said you are invited to a big ball, but Cinderella was not invited to the ball.

Two days later was the ball. Cinderella had to help her sisters and brothers dress. Then it was time for the ball. The carriage had arrived.

Cinderella wanted to go to the ball. Then she went up to her room and cried. Then she heard a twinkling noise. She stopped crying, and then her Fairy Godmother appeared at the window. Cinderella all of a sudden flew out of her bed, out of the window into the grass.

Her Godmother said, “Go get me a pumpkin.” All of a sudden, the pumpkin was a beautiful carriage. She said, “Go get me that rock.” The rock was a beautiful dress. She said, “Go get me those 10 lizards.” Before Cinderella could say thank you, the ten lizards were four horses and six coachmen.

Then she said, “Be back by the night.”

Cinderella arrived. The prince went straight to her. They danced for about 9 hours. It was midnight. Cinderella rushed like a bull out the door. One of her glass slippers flew off and broke.

She cut her toe off.

smart, hipster ho needed in NYC

I am totally thinking of applying for this job

rains, pours

The stomach flu has now officially descended on our happy home.


The cousins had it last week. I guess it was inevitable.



The End

My newish but important-to-me romantic relationship has ended.

I'm sure all the lessons from this experience will reveal themselves to me in the fullness of time, but here's #1 takeaway I've gotten thus far:

If you care about me, it's GREAT if you tell me (and being a wordy sort, I do treasure a good love letter or romantic declaration), but really, it's more important that you SHOW me how you feel. Every day. In big and small ways. That says a lot more.

Lesson learned.

Over and out.

This is one of the scariest things I've read in ages.

Good God.

hey NYC blog readers... how is it getting around the city today? Terrible?

i hate cold weather

I hate it. I just pretty much hate everything about it. I really want to live on the beach in Key West. Or maybe in SoCal on the beach...


Christmas really begins for me today.

My children will be home from a few days with their father and they are all out of school as of today. Tonight they (and the cousins) and I will make gingerbread people (and gingerbread horses and guitars and amplifiers and all the things that my kids love...) and listen to Christmas music.

In some ways, my house doesn't feel like home unless the children are there. When they are away -- even though I do enjoy getting a break sometimes -- it's like all the oxygen is sucked out of the house and it doesn't fill back up until they are back.

It's weird to see a house full of children's things that sit untouched for days at a time when they are with their father. (I'm sure he feels the same way when they are not with him). I usually keep the doors to their bedrooms shut when they are gone because they look so empty.

I felt this MUCH more acutely the first year we did the two households thing; now it's more like a dull ache sometimes than the sharp sting that it was then.

But I cannot wait to get them home tonight.

weezer celibacy

Rivers Cuomo has apparently decided to keep on truckin' with his vows of celibacy.

I think this uber-public declaration is actually a clever ploy to entice women who love a challenge ;-)

narnia rap

Very funny white boy rap from this weekend's SNL is right here. I think that new kid is really funny... I may start watching again.


I just got off the phone with a good friend of mine who has learned that her breast cancer, which was initially treated three years ago when she found a lump in her breast, has spread to her liver, lungs and spine. Her attitude is so positive that it really makes me feel like a chronic whiner. I know she's scared to death but she's so brave. They are starting her back on chemo and some other nasty cancer-fighting drugs that make her feel physically awful.

This particular friend has taught me a lot of good lessons since I met her ten years ago. She was my neighbor at our house - the one we lived in for seven years before my divorce. When we first moved in, I thought she and I would have ZERO in common. She's older than I am and pretty quiet and very conservative. She's always lived within five square miles of where she lives today - her whole life. She doesn't work outside the home - her entire world revolves around her daughter - who is now in 6th grade - and her husband, whom she met in elementary school.

Suffice it to say that we are very un-alike in a myriad of ways ;-)

But guess what? She's awesome and we ended up becoming close buddies. It took several years of living next door before we really "discovered" each other. Our daughters, mine two years younger than hers, became best friends, and she ended up becoming my babysitter when I was writing from home. She was truly a second mother to my youngest son when he was a baby/toddler/preschooler. And she helped me so much during the painful period just before and after my divorce. I remember I was freaking out one night about the whole thing and banged on her door at midnight asking if she had ANYTHING to calm me down in her medicine cabinet. She gave me her leftover valium from one of her chemo treatments. I took it and went right to sleep. There aren't many friends you can hit up for valium in the middle of the night without them even asking any questions ;-)

I haven't seen her enough in the past year and one of my New Year's resolutions is to make more time for her and her husband and daughter, whom I love a lot. And I am really hopeful that this health setback is just that - a temporary setback. This is a person who should be in our world as long as possible because she makes it a better place. And I love her. I need to tell her that more clearly.



I am on a mix-CD exchange list with a bunch of folks -- we are sending each other CDs this Christmas season-- so I am discovering all this great stuff I'd never heard or only had heard a little of (awkward sentence construction but you get the drift).

Here is some of my favorite new (to me) music this holiday season:



I am really irritated that the annoying Wilmer Valderrama has been cast as loveable-hispanic-gangsta-turned-rollerboogeying-motorcycle-cop, Ponch in the upcoming CHIPs movie. So obvious. So predictable. So boring.

downtown randall brown

My pal Randall has posted his
helpful Ten Days Out Calendar
on his KNS Entertainment Blog.
I am really looking forward to seeing the gay cowboy movie, and I have to say again (I said I liked Heath's comments on parenthood a few posts down from this one) that Heath Ledger and Michele Williams sound like super cool people.


sizing up jude law

I'll admit to finding Jude Law superhot in "The Talented Mr. Ripley." Lordy that man is good looking. So I was amused when a story made the rounds 8 weeks or so ago claiming that clandestinely (is that a word?) taken nude photos of JL indicate that he isn't, ahem, very well endowed. But I never saw the pix in question until today when a blog reader who knows of my girly affection for JL pointed me to these shots.

As you can see from looking at the actual nekkid photos it's really not fair to say WHAT he's got going on. I mean, he just went swimming for goodness' sake. And it's a telephoto lens. I'm just not prepared to make a judgment based on the evidence I have before me...

luigi the band

A friend of mine made me a mix CD this week and on it was one song by
Atlanta band called "Luigi."
. I really liked the song, so I
did a bit of sleuthing online and discovered that Luigi is fronted by
Michele Dubois, whom I knew slightly when I was in college. She had a
Knoxville band called "The Flying Polecats," and then a band called

Her new stuff sounds great. I'm going to order Luigi's new

E makes his gingerbread house

Originally uploaded by kgranju.

good work

I am feeling very grateful for my job these days. I am a TV/web news producer at an NBC affiliate. I hadn't had a "real" job in years when I got this one in early 2004. I had been working from home/telecommuting for six years as a writer/editor/online producer. I worked full time -- often more than full time -- during this period, but mostly from home.

I was really anxious that after it became clear I needed to get an outside-the-house job after my divorce that I wouldn't be able to find one. For one thing, I am stuck in Knoxville for the forseeable future (because my kids' father is here and of course, I would never move them away from him) and most jobs in my field are in NYC or Chicago or Atlanta. For another thing, no matter that I had written for major magazines and newspapers, I knew that when I applied for jobs, my freelance work just wouldn't look as good as "real" jobs.

But somehow I lucked into this job and it's just been the best work ever. I could stand to make more money, but I don't work in a high dollar field (unless I move to a bigger city, which I will likely do when the kids are older). But aside from the money part, this job is wonderful.

For starters, it's the most amazingly KIND work culture I've ever encountered. From the top on down, everyone at this place is genuinely nice. Folks are just nice to each other. It's almost weird how nice everyone is. People want to see other people there succeed. Everyone's successes are celebrated. Everyone truly has a sense of cameraderie and teamwork.

Plus, there's a culture of trust there. My boss trusts me to get my work done. He does not micromanage me and he lets me make mistakes and learn from them. He isn't watching my comings and goings and he lets me work in the style/way that works best for me.

As an example, I had never produced ANY television before I started work there. They hired me to be the online editor. But I now produce the weekly political TV roundtable and have been given lots of latitude to produce other on-air ideas I've had. My first foray into TV producing won a nice award last Spring.

And after a year, when I went to my bosses and told them I needed a more flexible work schedule, they didn't hesitate to give it to me. I am really grateful for that, too.

The station is owned by one of the big five media corporations; some people refer to it as "McNews." I was very wary about working for this corporation. But my experience has been that it's entirely people-oriented. Although I work at a station in Tennessee, I am on a first-name basis with the corporation's major news execs who are headquartered in Wash D.C..

Yeah, I'm gushing. But I have a couple of friends out of work right now and I just feel really lucky to have this job. Today was our annual work holiday party and it was actually a great deal of fun and made me appreciate my coworkers and workplace all the more.

I am always happy to get up and go to work in the morning. 99% of the time, I actually look fwd to being there.

I will now end my job love letter and return to our regularly scheduled programming.


an irritation

I don't know why, exactly, but it bugs me a lot when people refer to themselves as the "parents" of their animals/pets and the pets/animals as their "children."

Today I heard a woman refer to herself as "mommy" to her pug dog. Ick.

And trust me, this is coming from someone who loves animals. But the ones that live with me are not my children and I am not their parent.

the corrections

A website I love, "" has posted their annual round-up of the most egregious and entertaining media corrections of the year
right here.

Among my personal favorites:

-A November Reuters report about the recall of "beef panties."

-From The Guardian: In our G2 cover story about Hunter S Thompson yesterday we mistakenly attributed to Richard Nixon the view that Thompson
represented "that dark, venal and incurably violent side of the American character". On the contrary, it was what Thompson said of Nixon.

-From the Dallas Morning News: Norma Adams-Wade's June 15 column incorrectly called Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk a socialist. She is a socialite.

jen's chest

The always hilarious Dan has posted an open letter to Jennifer Aniston taking her to task for the (he says) obviousness of her breast implants in her current, tres racy GQ cover.

I don't actually think they look fake, but now I'm gonna go look again...

grown up

I've said before that it always amazes me that I am grown up enough to have friends who do Really Important Stuff.

Today I had a really fun lunch with someone who repairs damaged hearts for a living. He's a heart surgeon. And he's my age. So we were sitting there eating Mexican food and I was watching his hands scoop up guacamole and drink iced tea and I just kept thinking, "This man can do heart surgery."

And all I know how to do is write some. And edit. I can knit a little. And my children like me to rub their feet and backs. But it would just be really weird to know how to do something that awesome and important.

i heart copyeditors

I grew up in a newspapering family. It's a proud family tradition. And
we all try to out copyedit each other, even now. So I really liked
column about why the copy desk is so important
to good print


This is an interesting essay by a guy who really wants a baby but who is in love with a woman who really doesn't.


what kate wants for christmas..

my christmas list:


today i am listening to...

Saw this band play live last week and they were quite good. The record is full of really nice little pop songs. Tight, jangly, well crafted and done just right.


current listening...

i know what i'll be doing new year's eve...

Sponsors: 90.3 The Rock, Metro Pulse, Glover Incorporated, Cumberland House
Hotel, and Second Harvest House

For Immediate Release: December 8, 2005


Who: Scott Miller & the Commonwealth, with special guest Mic Harrison w/ The
High Score
When: Saturday, December 31, 2005 * Doors at 8 p.m.
Where: New Amsterdam Bar & Grill * 1836 Cumberland Avenue (“The Strip”) *
Knoxville, Tn. * (865) 544-7080
How: General admission tickets are on sale now at all Tickets Unlimited
Outlets, online at, or by phone at 656-4444, and are
$22 each, plus applicable service charges through December 25, and $25 each
after Dec. 25.

KNOXVILLE, TN – Scott Miller and The Commonwealth ushering in the new year has become a tradition in Knoxville, and this year is no different. Miller will bring his party to Knoxville’s historic “Strip” this year, and will have his former V-Roys band mate Mic Harrison, who is backed up by the band The High Score to open the show (NOTE FROM KATIE: I love Scott MIller, but I love Mic Harrison and The High SCore even more. Mic has the best voice in rock and roll. Period. It makes me swoon. And The High Score are superfun).

Miller always delivers his crowd favorites at his New Year’s Eve show, as well as some V-Roys classics with Harrison joining Miller on stage. This year promises even more, as Miller’s third album for Sugar Hill Records is due out in February, so some brand new tunes should be part of the New Year’s Eve party soundtrack.

Miller’s New Year’s Eve gigs have moved to a different venue every year, it seems. He is excited to have this year’s show at New Amsterdam, a large club on Cumberland Avenue, or “The Strip” as it is known far and wide. “The Strip” is located adjacent to the UT campus, and also borders the Fort Sanders neighborhood where Miller lived and performed for several years before the V-Roys started shaking things up. In fact, The V-Roys actually performed a New Year’s Eve concert at the same venue when it was known a Flamingo’s a few years ago. The venue has seen a significant remodeling job both upstairs in the performance room and downstairs in the other bar area. Miller is excited to be back on The Strip, especially if it helps to jump start brining more live music back to the UT campus area to help get the students interested in live music, again. “Hell, how can anybody go wrong by coming out to a New Year’s Eve Strip show!,” Miller said, tongue-in-cheek.

The New Year’s Eve show is also a fund raiser for Second Harvest Food Bank, with a portion of ticket proceeds and hotel room packages going directly to help feed the needy served by this great organization. The brand new Cumberland House Hotel, located only blocks from the club is offering room packages, and more info on those can be found by calling (865) 971-4663.

For more info, you may check out or
For interview requests, please contact

mother, interrupted

I had a really terrible week this week. I was under the weather, and some personal issues were problematic, and I was really busy at work, and my children were with their father for several days. Somehow, in the midst of all the commotion, I got confusd about when my children's school Christmas program was. I thought it was NEXT Thursday, but it was last night.

And I missed it.

That's right, I am the worst mother on the planet. I accidentally missed my children's school Christmas pageant.

Let that sink in a minute. It's terrible. I feel terrible.

They are always with their father on Thursday night, so he went and I didn't. I was actually at work until 8pm and when I got home, I got a call from my daughter, who asked me in a quavery voice why I hadn't been there.

This ranks as one of the worst moments as a parent...ever.

After I apologized profusely and explained I had thought it was next Thursday, I hung up and cried. I also once again cursed being a divorced parent. The shuffling back and forth between two houses is hard on all of us, although the kids would tell you there are some things about it that they like, but for me, it's extremely hard to keep up with their schedules and lessons and appointments and school events with them gone 1/3 of the time. If a note goes home on a day they are with their father, it often falls into an abyss and I never get it. This is despite the fact that their father and I are in touch via e-mail pretty much daily. It's just very hard to keep all the balls in the air with two households and three children and all the back and forth... I am not a tremendously organized mother to begin with and sometimes I drop the ball.

Tonight the children are home, and for the first night in what seems like ages, we have nothing we HAVE to be doing. No games or lessons or parties or school events, no school in the morning (it's Friday), so no homework to get done. So the house is full of happy, homebound noises: Christmas music, the boys playing a video game, Jane chattering on the phone to her best friend. The Christmas tree is all lit up and the house is cozy and warm. I feel more relaxed than I have since getting that gut-wrenching phone call informing me I'd committed this horrible parenting sin.

current listening



I have mice. I can hear them scurrying around behind my stove and I saw one in my pantry (on a high shelf !!). I don't know what to do about them. I can't bring myself to poison or trap them. My cat is a lazy-ass. He sits and listens to them but makes no move to chase them out of our house.

I wish I could just reason with them, and maybe relocate them to a home in the country or something. I'd pay their moving costs.
My little Tom Pappas/Flesh Vehicle write-up is live right here

the teenage boy at mothershock

Today my essay about being the mother of a teenage boy is the featured essay at MotherShock.



I have a new favorite snarky celeb gossip site:

heidi klum & everybody else

I'm all for cultural change that allows that we mothers are sexual beings, just as we were before becoming mothers, but I agree with Slate's TV critic that there is something vaguely unsettling about Heidi Klum strutting the Victoria's Secret runway in a thong eight weeks after giving birth.

Women are under tremendous pressure to "get their bodies back" as soon as possible after giving birth and this is just another guilt-inducing thing ("But Heidi Klum was in a THONG! Two months after she had the baby!)

Many women are still swollen and leaky eight weeks after giving birth. All of us are sleep-deprived and hormonal eight weeks after giving birth. We are still getting the hang of this baby thing or this more-than-one-kid-in-the-household thing. It's not a period I think 99.9% of women would describe as the most erotic or sexually exciting of their lives. In fact, for most women, the thought of wearing a thong in the first few months after giving birth sounds about as appealing as binding our feet.

(I do have to commend Heidi on her excellent taste in baby names. Her son is named Henry ;-)
Heath Ledger's got it right.


I interviewed Tom Pappas today about hsi upcoming Knoxville show. The interview will run Friday.

He told me that in his opinion, the main difference between Knoxville and Nashville is that Knoxvillians drink a lot more.

time travel

TDOT has these big new electronic message boards around town that advise me of the travel time to various points. They read "TRAVEL TIME to WHEREVER- XX Minutes"

But for some reason, every time I see one, my brain reads "TIME TRAVEL"

I wish... ;-)



I am a fairweather Buddhist. Certain aspects of Buddhist practice help me a lot and others I'm just lazy about.

But the one that helps me the most with daily living is that of "metta" or conscious, pro-active lovingkindness.

I've experienced a very deep hurt this week and working on metta toward this person who is hurting me helps me a great deal. A description:

"The Pali word metta is a multi-significant term meaning loving-kindness, friendliness, goodwill, benevolence, fellowship, amity, concord, inoffensiveness and non-violence. The Pali commentators define metta as the strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others (parahita-parasukha-kamana). Essentially metta is an altruistic attitude of love and friendliness as distinguished from mere amiability based on self-interest. Through metta one refuses to be offensive and renounces bitterness, resentment and animosity of every kind, developing instead a mind of friendliness, accommodativeness and benevolence which seeks the well-being and happiness of others. True metta is devoid of self-interest. It evokes within a warm-hearted feeling of fellowship, sympathy and love, which grows boundless with practice and overcomes all social, religious, racial, political and economic barriers. Metta is indeed a universal, unselfish and all-embracing love.

Metta makes one a pure font of well-being and safety for others. Just as a mother gives her own life to protect her child, so metta only gives and never wants anything in return. To promote one's own interest is a primordial motivation of human nature. When this urge is transformed into the desire to promote the interest and happiness of others, not only is the basic urge of self-seeking overcome, but the mind becomes universal by identifying its own interest with the interest of all. By making this change one also promotes one's own well-being in the best possible manner.

Metta is the protective and immensely patient attitude of a mother who forbears all difficulties for the sake of her child and ever protects it despite its misbehavior. Metta is also the attitude of a friend who wants to give one the best to further one's well-being. If these qualities of metta are sufficiently cultivated through metta-bhavana — the meditation on universal love — the result is the acquisition of a tremendous inner power which preserves, protects and heals both oneself and others.

Apart from its higher implications, today metta is a pragmatic necessity. In a world menaced by all kinds of destructiveness, metta in deed, word and thought is the only constructive means to bring concord, peace and mutual understanding. Indeed, metta is the supreme means, for it forms the fundamental tenet of all the higher religions as well as the basis for all benevolent activities intended to promote human well-being."


I talk in my sleep. I've been known to agree to all kinds of crazy stuff when the person asking is awake and interrupts me while I am asleep.

Earlier tonight I was just asleep when my daughter Jane tells me we had this conversation:

Jane: Mom, why are they called iPods?

Me: Bluurghhagynejakk

Jane: Mom! Wake up! Why are they called iPods?

Me: Ummm...I think i is for internet.

Jane: What about "pod"?

Me: Pods are small bugs you can't get out of your house.

Jane: Wha? You mean iPod means "internet bug you can't get out of your house" ??

Me: Yes. That's what we have on our other computer


violet affleck

Well, Ben and Jen have had
their baby
. Congrats to them. I'm a bit bummed because now
that they have named their baby "Violet," it's going to become a trendy
name and if I ever have another baby girl, I wanted to name her Violet.
Oh well.



Check out these hilarious photos from the much-discussed, recent NYC Bat Mitzvah in which a doting father spent tens of millions to have everyone from Aerosmith to 50 Cent serenade his 13 year old baby girl.


Addendum: I didn't write this and I don't know who did. It's been circulating around the Web without attribution. If you are the author, be in touch and I'll credit you.

Dear President Bush,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from you and understand why you would propose and support a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. As you said "in the eyes of God marriage is based between a man a woman." When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? (I'm pretty sure she's a virgin).

3. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

4. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

5. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Aren't there 'degrees' of abomination?

6. Lev.21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

7. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

8. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

9. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.


I have the WORST cold I've had in ages. RG insists it's allergies, but considering the fact I've never experienced allergies before in my life - and the fact that both my boys are now having smilar symptoms - I am not so sure. But I have to say that the painful swelling inside my nose, and the itching in my nose and throat and the watery eyes aren't cold symptoms I've had before. Yesterday I took a sample zyrtec some doctor sometime had given someone in my family and that cleared me up for six hours or so. Then I slept miserably because I didn't have another one. Then I stopped and bought some claritin on the way to work this morning and it doesn't seem to be doing quite as good of a job. Really, I just want to take a hot bath and go to sleep, but I'm finishing a much overdo freelance project (Thank you and much love, SF), I am taping the weekly political show I produce tonight and regular workaday work beckons. I also said I'd help RG with his band's press release for their show this weekdn, so need to get that done...

And I am having a bad hair day. Very bad.